OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahomans in need of new Social Security cards claim they can’t get the help they need, but federal officials say more aid will soon be available.
Between 12-hour nursing shifts and caring for two kiddos, Mikyla Cartwright stays quite busy.
But lately, much of her free time has been spent on the phone, fighting to find her four month old’s information.
Her son, Xander, was born back in November. Mikayla tells KFOR she opted for the hospital to file for Xander’s Social Security card.
For whatever reason though, the card never came. Come tax time, Mikyla grew concerned and decided to file for Xander’s Social Security card herself.
When she stopped by her local office, she said the door was locked. Mikyla called the number on the door, which didn’t help.
“Longest I was ever on hold was two days, I mean two working days,” said Mikyla. “It just rings, it rings and rings and rings.”
KFOR stopped by a local Social Security office, finding a locked door, a dropbox, a desk filled with pertinent documents and instructions on how to apply from home, and a steady stream of confused Oklahomans.
“I can’t get them on the phone,” said Brian Burnett. “Real frustrated because I come to the city and came all the way from Midwest City.”
“It’s kind of a nuisance,” added Elizabeth Schwisow. “I mean, they could have someone up to help at the front, you know, just to tell people what’s going on.”
The SSA doors, though, haven’t been open for drop-ins for some time due to COVID protocols, except for a few in person appointments for those with dire needs.
“We understand the frustration, and we’re frustrated as well,” said Jose Olivero with the Social Security Administration. “As the pandemic began, nobody was expecting we’d be closed for two years.”
The Social Security Administration is urging Oklahomans who need help applying to call their local office.
But they urge consumers to be patient and know the call could take a while.
“The telephone system has never been set up to have 65 million Americans call in one day,” explained Jose. “So we are trying to expand that capability, and at the same time we have trained our staff to try and keep those calls short, and to the point, so we can get to as many people as possible.”
Complicating matters further, physically filing for Social Security cards is the only way in the Sooner State.
Where most of the country is fully Real ID compliant, Oklahoma still lags behind.
As a result, Social Security officials say Oklahoma is one of only four states in the entire country where you can’t apply online.
“It shocks me that we’re still running on this snail mail system,” said Mikyla. “It should be a lot easier.”
As for Mikyla, after three attempted but rejected filings, she’s finally received a call from Social Security Administration officials late this week.
She tells News 4 she expects to receive the card in the next few days.
“Yesterday, I get a letter in the mail with all my original documents back,” she said. “I feel like we’re actually gonna get it.”
Social Security Administration employees have started moving back into the office and will be accepting more in person appointments later this month.
Those who need to meet in person, though, have to call their local office and set up an appointment beforehand.
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